After a memorable climb on Iztaccihuatl (17,158′) on Tuesday our team traveled south and east to the town of Tlachichuca at the base of Orizaba. We spent some time here reorganizing our gear in preparation for our next climb. We also had time to relax and enjoy some good Mexican meals which is always a treat.
We stayed at our good friends the Reyes family. Four generations ago this family built a large compound for the purpose of manufacturing soap. Back then there were no roads leading to the little village of Tlachichuca. Interest in climbing Orizaba led to manufacturing their own equipment some of which is on display at their compound. This interest in climbing Orizaba eventually led to helping visiting climbers from around the world with logistics and support to climb here. Today Gerardo and Luis Reyes carry on that rich tradition. The soap factory has been converted into a compound for climbers to rest and organize themselves in a comfortable setting with first class hospitality. It is always a treat to visit the Reyes family.
On Thursday we loaded our gear onto a 4-wheel drive vehicle and drove to the Pierdra Grande hut at approximately 14,000′. We took an afternoon hike then returned to the hut to cook dinner and hit the sack in preparation for an early rise for our summit bid.
On Friday we were treated to a clear and windless night. We navigated by headlamp through the lower part of the route eventually gaining a section of the route we call the Labyrinth which leads the the Jamapa Glacier. We arrived at the base of the glacier at sunrise and put on our crampons, changed out trekking poles for ice axes, and clipped into a rope. We ascended the 2000’+ glacier to the impressive crater rim of this extinct volcano which we traversed to its high point. We had the summit to ourselves as we shared in a clear view and took pictures.
Here are a few highlights of the climb. The entire photo gallery from our trip is here: http://kurtwedbergphotography.com/International-Expeditions/Mexicos-Volcanoes-Nov-2009/10215645_qBCrw/1/709897328_D6mwz